I have experimented with every possible protein source you can imagine 🙂
When my family was encouraging my Mother to fight Ovarian Cancer, we all went Macro-biotic which is entirely Vegan.
Protein is difficult. Your consumption entirely depends on…your genetics, are you fighting cancer, how much do you exercise, are you trying to build muscle? So many things to think about. Most women need about 46 grams per day and men 56. I typically consume much more protein in a day especially when training for an event. Also, if you are vegetarian or vegan (plant-based protein) you need more than meat-eaters according to personal training guidelines.
In general, good guidelines if you aren’t vegan is to use lean protein source:
Lean poultry: Chicken breasts and Turkey
Fish: Salmon & Tuna are my favorites, but many other wild-caught fish are good
Eggs: Egg whites with a yolk or 2 thrown in…wonderful source of protein
Dairy: Whoa…dairy gets a huge bad rap now! If you choose to consume dairy, cottage cheese and plain yogurt are great! Look at the sugar grams and choose the lowest brands. Definitely add fresh fruit to your yogurt. Any kind of berries are a great addition! Or skip dairy all together and get your pro-biotics through other sources…check your health food stores. Almond milks, cashew milks, and other nut-milks are good substitutions. Or even better make your own milks by soaking the raw nuts overnight and blending them in the morning.
Seafood: Good quality seafood is fine in moderation if you have no allergies.
Pork: A lean pork loin is fine in moderation.
Ground Turkey: use this in place of ground beef for casseroles, crock pot dishes, lasagna, etc
Deer, lamb, veal, beef…I’m not going to make a judgement. Please know that these are for special occasions, not to be consumed regularly. AND, most importantly with all animal based protein go organic and grass-fed!
My entire family went vegan while Mom had Ovarian cancer. But, I’m going to be honest, you have to be really diligent in your nutrition plan to ensure that you are getting all nutrients you need, especially if you do extreme exercise! My Sister actually trained for triathlons while vegan!
What you need to do:
Add organic tofu in place of yogurt or other dairy fillers. (be careful though. GMO soy here in the U.S. is bad for you – make sure it is non-GMO) You blend it (add to desserts, we actually made a tofu cheesecake), put in Tempeh for some extra texture. I recommend not using “fake” meat anymore. It used to be okay, but in the last several years the U.S. soy fillers are laden with pesticides. And, of course…beans: black, pinto, kidney, northern, chick peas, you name it!
Add Quinoa to your diet. Quinoa tastes like a grain but has around 8 grams of protein in 1 cup. So, you kill 2 birds with one stone by consuming this super-food. It is also a good low-fat source of iron and fiber. I’ve started replacing some of my dishes that use ground beef or turkey with Quinoa. You can find it in many forms in health food stores including ground for flour or in the frozen foods section.
Finally, the latest super-food, non-animal source of protein is hemp. Hemp products contain virtually no THC, so this is not the same thing as marijuana. Hemp is one of the few non-animal proteins that contains all 9 essential amino acids. Don’t know how to use it? Get on Pinterest and search for Hemp Recipes and you’ll get oodles of ideas!
I know too many vegetarians who have a much greater body fat percentage than meat eaters because they are lacking in protein and therefore hungry. They tend to make up for it by bingeing on chips, fries, and many other unhealthy carbs. So, if you opt for going vegetarian, please be diligent in making your own foods by using proper protein sources.